Dragonforce/Maximum Overload

DragonForce is a British power metal band based in London, England. Formed in 1999, the group is known for its long and fastguitar solos, fantasy-based lyrics, and electronic sounds in their music to add to their retro video game-influenced sound. As of August 2014, DragonForce have released six studio albums, one live album and one demo.

The Analysis—-

The Game—-Is there anything to complain about Dragonforce…..well yes…consistency. There seems from the onset no progression with the band except for the occasional nu-metal growls provided by Trivium vocalist Tim Healey. The new vocalist is nice…but lacks that diversity of the past. This track does have a REALLY nice melodic break in the middle of the song…that helps to keep my interest. The spped of the playing is still there…but we know by now that this band is capable of that….this is a slight rehash…but the release is early in the listen….lets see…..

Tomorrow’s Kings—-Although the track begins much as you would expect, the content is a bit different to me. I find this song rather pleasing to my ears…there is a great melody line that runs through the whole damn thing…in fact it is rather addicting. I love the sharp and swift chord changes…that has always been one of my attractions to this band. This is indeed progressive metal. I really, really like this song….it will stick to your brain!!!

No More—-The onset of this song has a deeper bass sound that is refreshing…but it quickly gives way to the more predictable sound. The new vocalist fits the band well….what the hell happened to the other one anyways? The whole band joining in on the chorus is pretty much classic 80’s metal isn’t it? I think the drummer is pretty incredible…he could play with the best of the best Death bands…he is no joke….but overall…this track is filler…they will get the footing back I’m sure.

Three Hammers—-At the onset……I immediately think that this has a slight blues sound to it….much in the vein of NWOBHM bands. The acoustic guitar enters in and I say….is this the predictable ballad that Dragonforce always seems to have? No…it is another Viking song! But damn….that guy hits some notes that are pretty fucking brilliant…..I won’t give up on these guys quite yet…this is a pretty masterful composition…the delivery is really awesome…I can forgive the content for the vocal!

Symphony Of The Night—-Ohhhh…..this is way slower and forlorn…..Dragonforce records…..oh wait…here we go….everything wakes up like Spring!!!! This is pretty damn nice…..the melody and double vocal tracks are really superb. I will have this damn song in my head for days I bet. The guitars at times seem a bit muddled…but how can I complain…to play at this speed must be damn exhausting….this is a stellar and favorite track!

The Sun Is Dead—–Right out of the gate…….LET’S GO!!!!! No rest for the wicked as the guitars literally sing. Te voice enters and takes you on yet another journey. This whole track has a positive feel to it for me…it makes me feel almost happy and energized. The backing vocals give the song a fuller feeling…never taking away from the soar of the lead that we are accustomed to….this is not stellar…but don’t throw it away either!!!

Defenders—-Almost sounding like machine guns, the guitars attack you from the moment the song begins….this is stellar…the vocal is pushed to the limit it seems….almost soaring as high as the guitars. This is another rather medieval themed track…but such is this band. I can’t complain about this vocalist…..while he sounds different…he fits with the band rather majestically. I really like this…the melody has a hook that will stay with you…classic 80’s metal re-incarnated.Some nice mood shifts in the music…keeps the song interesting…..I’m not bored yet!

Extraction Zone—- Moving faster than the speed of light from the onset, this is another track that has really grown on me…it is more aggressive at times than you would expect. The instrumentation seems more beefier and pumped up…although the speed never diminishes….this is stellar….damn….I gotta pull out the other releases now and re-introduce myself!

City Of Gold—-Rounding out the ‘proper’ release…much as it started…..fast and progressive…..I again….by the end of this listen…forget the vocalist was ever different. This is fast……and is formed nicely…reminding me of the first time I ever heard this band….I really did fall in love with this band back in the day…fell out because everything sounded alike…this is a bit more varied than I expected. I really like this track also…it has that sing-a-long quality…..I’m in love all over again.

Ring Of Fire—-Go figure….but the ole Johnny Cash recipe works….this is a much faster version…but damn do I love it….almost as well as Social Distortion. They do a pretty masterful version…..this is incredible…..damnnnnnnn!!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Dark Funeral/Attera Totus Sanctus

Dark Funeral is a Swedish black metal band from Stockholm, founded by guitarists Blackmoon and Lord Ahriman in 1993. They emerged during the second wave of black metal.

Their lyrical themes have traditionally pertained to Satanism and anti-Christianity. Certain past and present members including Blackmoon, Ahriman, Caligula and Chaq Mol have each declared an affinity for Satanism, with Ahriman and Caligula notably being practitioners of LaVeyan Satanism.[1] In their earlier years, their lyrical themes usually revolved specifically around depictions ofHell and Satan. After Emperor Magus Caligula joined the band, their lyrics came to focus more on blasphemy and anti-Christian rhetoric, although there have been several exceptions to this.

Attera Totus Sanctus (intended Latin translation of “Destroy All the Holy”) is Dark Funeral‘s fourth full-length studio album. It was released on October 24, 2005, in Europe through Regain Records, and on November 29, 2005, in the United States throughCandlelight Records USA. The title was chosen to convey the band’s vehement anti–Right-Hand Path stance.[4] Attera Totus Sanctusis the first album to feature guitarist Chaq Mol and the last album to feature drummer Matte Modin and also features session bassistGustaf Hielm.

The Analysis—-

King Antichrist—-You never even get a chance to sit for a moment before the mayhem that is Dark Funeral invades your brain. The sound is a bit dated on this release….Death Metal has come a long way in the past few years….but the integrity…message and aggression is 100% real. I am blown away with the speed of the disc and the vitriol that is produced with the vocal….this is real, genuine and intense! I love how despite the nose…there is a melody and structure……grab this and listen!

666 Voices Inside—-Every time I listen to this release, it seems the layers of sound seems to increase. I’m amazed at the technicality of a disc produced even in 2005. The vocal is so damn urgent….delivered almost in a puking style that makes you want to break everything that is around you. There are many bands in this genre these days that are less than genuine….this band…is the real deal. I love the vocal inflection as well….at once deep and from the gut…the higher pitch seems to come from nowhere…this is brilliant!

Attera Totus Santus—-Allowing you a moment to catch your breath, this track emerges from the fog and gradually builds steam until it is a full on assault. The layers of music are incredible….but way underneath all of the ‘mess’ is an unmistakable rhythm that drives the song. Trust me…this is not thrown together noise….this is constructed and well performed music that really stands the test of time. Not sure how the hell the drummer stays up or how the vocals don’t die out…but this is incredible. I would have loved to see this live….damn it all!

Godhate—-What really can you say…if you want fear, aggression and a wanderlust for the dark side…than this is the band for you. I wish this were not a burnt copy of this release…I would love to have the lyric sheet. Man….you can just feel the disdain and the pure disgust through the vocal. This track has some great breaks in it….not sure how that is possible when you play so fast…but they are there. Pure mastery!

Atrium Regina—-This is a surprise at the onset, but you will not be disappointed if you want the aggression to continue. The vocal seems much clearer on this track…but damn…this throat takes a workout. The music is a bit slower…with a downshift in the tempo…but the ebbs and flows are in place as before. The production…in my opinion is a bit lackluster…but consider the time…this is not Dimmu Borgir!

Angel Flesh—-From the onset, this is more metal than death…..but just wait a minute!!!! This quickly dissolves into pure mayhem and a nose that is both disgusting and remarkably pleasing. The tempo shifts keep my interest…..it is not just a pure noise pummel…there is musicianship and talent at play here. I love the diversity of the band….they obvious plan the attack before the war begins….as good death soldiers do!

Feed On Mortals—-Slowly rising from the foggy marsh, the assault is not far behind…but delivered in a masterful rhythmic manner. I can feel the sway of the bass guitar as it keeps a frantic pace. I think bands like this are incredibly underrated…..people are under the impression it is all hashed out in a moment of pure un-understandable noise….have no doubt…this has every element that is involved in bringing a quality track to your ears.

Final Ritual—-With an incredible drum progression to herald in the track, I wonder how the hell one man can keep that pace. The spoken vocal at the onset is indecipherable as is the latter vocal…lol. It is easy to get the drift though…this is hate…anger….aggression and TRUTH!

Athum Ritual—-Nicely executed with a downward chord progression. This track got my attention right away…it has a deeper and more melodic sound than I expected…this is almost addicting if you listen to it a few times in a row…it seeds inside your cranium and grows with eack listen….really a nice track….shows the true talent of this band.

Open The Gates—-With a swift return to all I have come to expect, the drums are the first thing to smack you upside the head. Damn ths is fast….even including some nice high hats to go along with the whole thing. Once the vocal enters the fray, there is a downshift to the music that allows for a fuller more melodic sound. When he screams SATAN….you know where you are….welcome to hell!!!

Arrival Of Satan—-Indeed……he seems to be here. The quality of this recording rather suck….it sounds like I’m inside a wind tunnel. Everything about this production is chaotic and sub par. This was not impressive to me…but it flows fairly well so I will accept it.

Apprentice Of Satan—-Well, this sounds like a live track…but is delivered as masterfully as everything else on this release….I am blown away by the quality musicianship that comprised this band…..especially considering the revolving door of people that ‘belonged’ to the band. This is consistent….that center break….is just timed masterfully…this is intense!!!

No More Roses—-Another live track, this is greeted by the audience with resounding chants and enthusiasm. There is no let up to the brutality that comprises the song or the performance This seems to be two discs in one…but I won’t complain…the quality live is as in the studio….I remain impressed. The wall of sound that is produced…just makes me sit back with my mouth hanging open…..the breaks and the melody are intact…..I wish I had been there.

Secrets—-Well received by the audience, the music never lets up for even one second….jeez….get this guy some cough drops. The cheers coming from the audience are incredible….I miss not seeing shows like this. The downshift tempos from the guitars are so instrumental in driving the song along at the pace that is needed…and you know as well as I do…live, most songs are at a faster tempo…imagine that!

Vobisam Santanas—-This added disc ends on a nice note…any Latin inflection in Death Metal is a plus right? We can only imagine the true meaning of every puked word that is uttered…..I almost feel drained after the intensity of this disc…..I can only imagine how you would feel after a live experience from this band…..I love this…..will consider it a treasure in my collection.

***1/2 out of 5


Gary Numan/ Decoder [Live In Australia]

Gary Anthony James Webb (born 8 March 1958), better known by his stage name Gary Numan, is an English singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. Born in Hammersmith, London, he first entered the music industry as the lead singer of the new waveband Tubeway Army. After releasing two albums with the band, Numan released his debut solo album The Pleasure Principle in 1979. Most widely known for his chart-topping hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars“, Numan achieved his peak of mainstream popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but maintains a loyal cult following.[1]

Numan, whose signature sound consists of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals, is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music

The Analysis—-

In A Dark Place—-Numan, who is a bona fide obsession with me, has honed his trademark sound in recent years. You know a Numan recording almost the moment it begins to play….this is no exception. The sounds are layered and replicated seamlessly in a live setting. Numan always gives a stellar performance, and this live entity is as expected. The sound that Gary produces now are much different than those many of you grew up with….he has taken many cues fro Trent Reznor and the Industrial Revolution. This intro is a it drug out….but sets up the rest of the disc nicely. There is no other voice like this man.

Blind—The intro to this track receives a stellar response from the audience. Numan tells further tales of desperation, alienation and disappointment….standard fair, and one I never tire of. The voice is a bit faded on this track….too much moving away from the direct line of the microphone…..but that is a minor complaint. The music is so muscular and beefy….I’m nearly in heaven.

Cars—-Many readers will be familiar with this #1 smash from 1979 that heralded in the synth movement of the 80’s. But the newly invigorated Numan gives this classic a crash course in huge sound and aggressive crashes and synth. This re-worked version sets with me much better than poorly recorded live renditions of the past decade. This is the sound of a man who has no intention of slowing down as he closes in on 60!

Haunted—-Returning to his darker sound and tales of alienation, this track has such an aggressive onset….almost smacking you in the face. Numan resurrects his tales of God alienation and his lack of outer faith in anything. The synths and bass on this track are huge and muscular…I sit here with a grin on my face as that familiar voice warms me and bathes me in comfort.

Films—-One of my favorite tracks from the ‘older’ Numan catalog, this song has also been re-worked and updated…but never loses any of the original harmony/melody lines which I adore so much. The voice is still as young as it ever was…Numan never strains for a note or sounds out of tune…..wonderfully classic!

RIP—-One of the tracks that helped to begin the re-resurgence of his career, Numan delivers a fantastic rendition of this pumped up, aggressive track. The whispered vocals that encompass much of the song only adds to the industrialized sound. When Gary does let lose with his howl, you find yourself easily swept up in the moment….I guarantee you that you will keep asking yourself Gary who? This is freakin’ brilliant!

The Fall—-Taken from the under-rated Jagged CD, this plays even better live…..how extraordinary. The guitars literally buzz with aggression and muscularity. Numan again sounds like he is stepping away too far from the mike at times…but it still retains all of the energy and punch you would expect.

Pure—-The title track from the Numan ‘comeback’ CD [it actually all began with the Sacrifice CD], this is not your childhood Numan. When Numan literally screams the line ‘Hey Bitch……’all you can say is holy fuck!!! This is incredible in this live setting…even more energized than the recorded version.

My Jesus—-A nice beefy track, but the content does become tiresome after a spell…..Numan grandisizes his God disdain a bit to much at this point in his career. We are all atune to how he feels about the matter…..must we continue to hear it? But when he literally screams the line ‘I’m praying for my soul’……you truly believe it.

Jagged—-With huge bursts of electric guitar to introduce this ‘new’ track, the sound is beefy and powerful. The song quickly quiets and loses much of its momentum…but comes back in ebbs and flows. Not a favorite track of mine, it still plays well with this song listing. I just feel like it needs more punch in the middle….I tend to lose interest…lol.

Down In The Park—-Another classic track from the early days that has been masterfully re-worked to bring it up to date with the new Numan sound. This plays really well live and is received by the audience with great fan-fare and acclaim. If the song was a bit dark before…this updated sound is even more so. The track is incredible…even if a bit over-played. The saving grace is that remarkable voice!

Halo—- Returning to alienation and God complexes, I do wish there was a bit more variety in this set. The sound is so much better than the recorded version though…the magic of ever changing machine capabilities. Numan sounds great and the audience seems to love the selection.

Prayer For The Unborn—-A bit quiet and introspective, this seems to find Numan at his most vulnerable….I wonder how it feels to expose yourself in such a public way? The instrumentation is a beautiful melody that bings a bit of lull and sadness….but this live version seems even more touching to me.

We Are So Fragile—-Another classic track that for the most part has been left in it’s original incarnation. The guitars are a bit beefier, but the synth plays like classic 80’s New Wave….which actually is really nice….I love this…reminds me of why I fell in love with the man and his music to begin with.

Pressure—-This track….also from the Jagged has ebbs, flows and an almost identical Reznor signature…..it really is a remarkable track….I love the back and forth trades between the synths and the guitars…..all the while leaving the voice to stand on it’s own. Really incredible….if you have not heard the Jagged release…you must check it out.

Noise Noise—-I was quite surprised to see this song listed on the Que it is seldom layed live….EVER. Really this goes way, way back in the catalog…but of course Numan has brought it into the new century with a beefier sound. The amazing thing is the voice…you think for sure you stepped right back into 1985 or something….his voice has not aged a centimeter…perhaps it has only gotten better!

I Can’t Breathe—-This is perhaps one of my favorite Numan compositions in the entire huge catalog this man has produced. This track has so much emotion…so much industry…so many huge noises. The voice is full of whispers…shouts…angst and incredible emotion. I love this…a fantastic way to end this show!

**** out of 5

Ultravox/The Best Of….

Ultravox (formerly known as Ultravox!) are a British new wave band, formed in London in 1974 as Tiger Lily. Between 1980–86, they scored seven Top Ten albums and seventeen Top 40 singles in the UK, the most successful of which was their 1981 hit “Vienna“.

The band has been led by two different frontmen who never played together in the band at the same time. From 1974 until 1979, singer John Foxx was frontman and the main driving force behind Ultravox. Foxx left the band to embark on a solo career and, following his departure, with the three remaining members in hiatus, Midge Ure took over as lead singer, guitarist and frontman in 1980 after he and keyboardist Billy Currie worked in the studio project Visage. Ure revitalised the band and steered it to commercial success lasting until the mid-1980s. Ure left the band in 1987 after establishing his own solo career and the group disbanded for a while. A new line-up, led by Currie, was formed in 1992, but achieved little success.

The band’s best-known line-up of Currie, Ure, bassist Chris Cross and drummer Warren Cann reformed in 2008 and performed a series of reunion shows in 2009 and 2010 before releasing a new studio album, Brill!ant, in May 2012. In November 2013, Ultravox performed as special guests on a four date UK arena tour with Simple Minds.

The Analysis—-

Sleepwalk—-Although this track does sound dated and minimal compared to today’s standards, that is why purists such as myself love it. I am a self-proclaimed 80’s guru and I love most all of the music that was produced in that era. This is squiggly and fun…..I never tire of this band. I like this early incarnation…but Midge really cemented this band for me.

Passing Strangers—-I love the vocal inflections on this track and the way the whole band adds to the fullness of the song. This is classic overseas 80’s fare that I fell in love with. The Brits are always ahead of their time…..leaving us to play catch-up. This is an example…the US took many tips from bands like this.The synths are incredible…still adding guitars and real drums…..genius.

Vienna—-Is there anyone who does not know this song? This is the most morose track…silent and still….building to a dizzy climax that lets me know where Gary Numan got his idea for Sleep By Windows. The vocals are so emotive and intense…so sad and blended with the music in a grandiose magnificent way. The synths lead the entire thing down a path that has masterpiece written all over it. Just listen to the lyrics…….damn!

All Stood Still—-The instrumentation on this track gets close to the things bands like Berlin began doing in the early 80’s. Although I must say the lyrical content means way more than many of the aforementioned bands. These were the great years of the beginning synth wave…when musicians were discovering they could make a song without 8 other people involved. This makes me want to Goth dance and forget the climate of 2015.

The Thin Wall—-Another synth laden wall of sound at the onset. The vocal is almost theatrical…..at times sounding genuine and when the band joins in sounding more like a masterpiece. I’m telling you, overseas bands can teach us so much about good music…way, way before it happens here in the US. This was a classic recipe that made MTV a huge staple for so many years.

The Voice—-Grandiose in sound and sounding super produced, this track is damn near flawless. The swelling violins….the vocal from Midge. The sweltering emotion that drips from every word……yet the underlying energy that pervades. This is damn near perfect.There is so much emotional control to the vocal…it still gives me goosebumps…..yeah….I’m an 80’s kid.

Reap The Wild Wind—-Another pretty well known song from this band, the beginning keyboards remind me of a long lost 70’s soft rock radio hit. The swirls that wrap around you from the complicated synth are incredible. The vocals…at times almost spoken are accentuated by the backdrop voices of the rest of the band. This song is both sad and joyous…a journey in three minutes.

Hymns—-Never a favorite track of mine, I do love the chorus of the track. Mostly, the vocals are a bit too Broadway inspired for me…but this was ‘art-rock’ back in the day. The lyrical content makes me think though…allowing me to lose myself in a homemade daydream as I contemplate the meaning of writers words. A pretty good track…but not a standout.

Visions In Blue—-Well, I had almost forgotten about this track…talk about a Broadway inspired song. The spoken vocal and the ghastly instrumental track is right out of the songbook from Phantom Of The Opera. The track does wake up a bit…but this is rather too grand for me.

We Came To Dance—-Jumping head long back into the synth decadence of the era, this is the alternate alternative to Safety Dance. This song moves at such a great pace with a never-ending loop of synth that rarely alternates or deviates. This is spontaneous…joyous yet conjures up thoughts when 80’s dance was not so peaceful. This is pure joy to hear after such a time.

One Small Day—-Much more guitar based than anything yet heard thus far on this collection, this has a heady feel to it. The vocal is pushed so far back in the mix, you can barely hear it…to me this ruins the track….why are the instruments so much in your face when the vocal is so full of anguish and emotion. Sometimes….over production can ruin a masterpiece

Dancing With Tears In My Eyes—-.Except for Vienna, perhaps one of my favorite songs from this band. The emotion and urgency in the voice is what makes it all so important to me…this is a masterpiece of a song. I feel every word that comes from Ure…you can’t escape the joy and the sadness that is conveyed in a single way of singing. The instrumentation is classic American synth…but trust me…they had it down pat first. This is one of those songs I will listen to until I can’t.

Lament—-Seriously, this song sounds like a instrumental mix of Phil Collins and Depeche Mode…..we never travel far from our heroes. To me. or for me, this is a sad song…the piano and the drivel makes it heavy. There are layers and layers of music on this song…makes you sit back and say wow.

White China—-Ok…….this seriously has Depeche Mode written all over the instrumentation. Even the band joining in from time to time seems like a Gahan recipe. I don’t like this song…to me it is grasping at the future, or trying to stay current without coming up with something that original. Come on guys….I expect so much more from you…..

Love’s Great Adventure—-Returning in full force to the defining sound of New Wave Europe, the lyrics make you think and feel. The music makes you feel joyous and I have the urge to dance and type at the same instant. This is a masterpiece of a song…one of the reasons I fell in love with this band…how wonderful….no other words explain my joy!!!

Same Old Story—-Right from the onset, this track sounds hollow and under-produced. The added horns and background female singers need to be erased and you would have a classic song. This is sad to me….explaining to me why this band took such a long hiatus. This is not Ultravox but a producers idea of what it was supposed to sound like with the changing times. You can’t force a band to be something you want them to be.

All Fall Down—-Full of Irish references and f aux bagpipes, this is a huge song. The mood of the song is again, a bit theatrical…but the feeling of the lyrics are not lost. This is a nice swan song…the march of the music and huge choir of voices is phenomenal…I love this….but there could have been so much better.

All In One Day—-With huge instrumental swells and mood enhancing oboes, the song is striped bare of synths at the onset…again making me feel like I’m in the middle of a play. The voice is so strong and inflection…..you can’t help but fall in love with this band…but I could think of 8 better songs that could have been on here. This song is both sad and joyous….and really….at the end of the day…who can ask for more than emotion….because music matters!

****out of 5

Queensryche/Queensryche [Remastered]

Queensrÿche /ˈkwnzrk/ is an American progressive heavy metal band formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington out of the local band The Mob. The band has released 14 studio albums, one EP and several DVDs, and continues to tour and record. The original lineup consisted of vocalist Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield.

Queensrÿche has been successful in the progressive scene, having sold over 20 million albums worldwide, including over 6 million albums in the United States.[1] The band received worldwide acclaim after the release of their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime, which is often considered one of the greatest concept albums of all time[by whom?]. Their follow-up release, Empire, released in 1990, was also very successful and included the hit single “Silent Lucidity“. The band has received three Grammy Award nominations for songs off both albums. In the late 90s, drummer Rockenfield also received a Grammy nomination outside of Queensrÿche.

In 1997, guitarist and primary songwriter DeGarmo left the band for personal reasons. Over the years, his replacements have beenKelly Gray, Mike Stone, and Parker Lundgren, respectively. Following a highly publicized backstage altercation before a show in São Paulo, Brazil in April 2012, Tate was fired from the band and replaced with then-Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. In response to his dismissal, Tate and his wife Susan (who served as the band’s manager from 2005–2012) filed a lawsuit in a Washington court, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated. The ruling in the preliminary injunction was that both parties were allowed to use the name Queensrÿche until a court ruling or a settlement decides who gets to use the name.[2] A settlement was reached on April 17, 2014,[3] in which founding members Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson were awarded the rights to the band trademark, continuing to play with the lineup that additionally includes singer La Torre and guitarist Lundgren.[4]

During the time both parties could use the name Queensrÿche, Tate created his own lineup featuring former guitarist Gray and musicians from bands including Blue Öyster Cult, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio, AC/DC and Quiet Riot.[5][6] This version of Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate released the album Frequency Unknown on 23 April 2013,[7] while Queensrÿche (with La Torre replacing Tate) released their eponymous album on 24 and 25 June 2013 (European and American release date, respectively).[8]Both bands toured in 2013 and 2014.

The Analysis—-

Queen Of The Reich—-Say what you will about me and my early 80’s rock beginnings. I knew Lady Wore Black and the Rage For Order release far before I investigated and became familiar with this EP…..I’m slow, what can I say. For me…..this track is all about the vocal. Even in it’s remastered state, the song sounds a bit metallic and under-produced….but that opening and subsequent screams from Tate are something that should always be recorded in great Metal History.This track has all of the great elements of classic 80’s metal…the vocal…the twin guitars…the background drums. The energy is incredible. This was a great debut for a band that will go down in history for more than just lawsuits and internal discord. Tate cannot sing like this anymore….but who can…fortunate for us…we have this to remember! A huge track that will live forever!

Nightrider—-A little less familiar with this track, but it has all the elements necessary to put this band in rock royalty. The vocal is extraordinary…the guitars strong as hell. This mix has the drums much more in your face. This band managed to do things in the studio with effects etc. that most bands in this era would never attempt. Tate sounds so clear….this set the band up for the continuing journey into prog-metal that it finessed. This is an incredible track…sorry I never paid it more attention.

Blinded—-Building and building with guitars and drums until you can barely stand it, Tate enters with a vocal that is phenomenal. The chorus is huge with the entire band joining in to create a chorus of voices. The song is neo-science Nordic stuff that most bands did not thing about singing about at the time. This has ebbs and flows…guitar solos [which soar] and a fantastic harmony/melody line. Just breathtaking!

The Lady Wore Black—-This is the Queensryche I cut my teeth to…thanks to a compilation album called Slave To The Metal. The song brings forth thoughts of fog…mystery and intrigue. The vocal is stellar and really the star of the show. That is not to say that DeGarmo lacked any…his guitar playing carried this band for a very long time. I love the melodic ebbs and flows…..the mystery…and the VOICE!!!

Nightrider [Live]—-Much of this remastered copy contains live cuts such as this and songs from The Warning. This is nothing to new….it is still amazing to see how well the band sounds live…almost without a fault. Tate could deliver….in those days…on stage or in the studio. I still love having this…just because of the extras and the clearer sound to the original release.

Prophecy [Live]—-From the upcoming [at the time] release The Warning. This is not a let-down from the debut….it seems even tighter here then I remember. Tate had an almost operatic delivery to his voice…but he should have known that he cold not continue to sing like this forever…..outside of Halford and Dickinson can anyone? This is pretty melodic…even in its live setting. Not a favorite of mine…but the only live version I have…so I will take it.

Deliverance [Live]—-Personally, I love the hell out of this song. The energy is incredible. The song is faster than anything they had done before…and the harmonies still give me goosebumps. This is a phenomenal live version….his vocals are spot on perfect. I love the chorus….makes me hyped. I did love this band…..although for me…they climaxed at Rage For Order….and then bit the mainstream vein. This was classic 80’s metal.

Child Of Fire[Live]—-This is one of those tracks that I fell in love with because the content and galloping beat reminded me of my beloved Iron Maiden.There are some really nice breaks in the track….gong from fast and progressive to slow and introspective…it all seems to showcase that voice. It is too bad Tate can’t deliver vocals like this any longer…but most singers can’t. Thank God we have this to remember.

Enforce[Live]—-Perhaps one of my all time favorite Ryche songs [outside of London]. The music, the lyrics, the IDEA and progressive as hell. Tate delivers a vocal that is just incredible. Of course you have to excuse the 80’s mandatory cow bell [thanks Motley Crue] . The entire mixture comes together to create a moment in time for me that is hard to erase from my memory…and isn’t that what music is all about…bringing fond memories or heartbreak to your memory forefront as to see that you never forget or let them go. This is one of those songs for me….

Blinded [Live]—-Not much changes between live and recorded versions when it comes to this band. The simple fact, as I stated before, is that I find it amazing they were able to sound so ‘studio-perfect’ live. This is a damn contagious chorus though…..man…such memories.

The Lady Wore Black [Live]—-I remember the first time I really got into this band…a live in store autograph signing before they were scheduled to open for Judas Priest on the Turbo tour. I still have that autographed copy of Rage For Order. When the band sang this song live…I was so excited…this song…I knew!!!

Warning[Live]—-A live rendition of the title track for the first ‘proper’ studio release. This is pretty damn measure for measure. Live this band only started to miss beats in the later years when it all seemed to become the Tate show. To bad….I like the ‘new’ Queensryche. But I really miss the old Queensryche.With a nice drum intro to the song, this really showcases how damn tight this band was live….I still can’t believe how great the vocals sound live. This is another very favorite track of mine…can you fault anything about the early days of this band? Probably only that they forgot to prepare for the future.

Take Hold Of The Flame [Live]—-Beginning with a melancholy intro, the song builds via instrumentation and vocals to an incredible all around track. The production here is a bit lackluster…but damn…it is hard to find anything negative about this recording. What can I do but gush…if you come across a copy of this remaster….grab it and fall in love all over again.Man….when Tate hits that note towards the end of the song…..damn.

Queen Of The Reich [Live]—-Would there be any other way to end this release than with a live rendition of this track. Yes…..that scream is perfectly repeated…no worries. This man could sing…the voice is crystal clear and the instrumentation spot of. The live version seems a bit faster and more galloping than the studio version…..but in few words…this is a masterpiece.

****1/2 out of 5

The past and the present…..

Marilyn Manson/The Pale Emperor

Brian Hugh Warner (born January 5, 1969), known professionally as Marilyn Manson, is an American musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, painter, multimedia artist, and former music journalist. He is known for his controversial stage personality and image as the eponymous lead singer of the band Marilyn Manson, which he co-founded with Daisy Berkowitz and of which he remains the only constant member. His stage name was formed by juxtaposing the names of two American cultural icons, namely actress Marilyn Monroe and Manson Family leader Charles Manson.[1][2][3]

He is best known for his band’s records released in the 1990s, most notably Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals, which along with his public image earned him a reputation in the mainstream media as a controversial figure and a negative influence on young people.[4][5] In the U.S. alone, three of the band’s albums have been awarded platinum and three more went gold, and the band has had eight releases debut in the top ten, including two number-one albums. Manson has been ranked number 44 in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader, and has been nominated for four Grammy Awards.

Manson made his film debut in 1997, as an actor in David Lynch‘s Lost Highway. Since then he has appeared in a variety of minor roles and cameos. As well, he was interviewed in Michael Moore‘s political documentary Bowling for Columbine discussing possible motivations for the 1999 Columbine massacre and allegations that his music was somehow a factor. On September 13–14, 2002, his first art show, The Golden Age of Grotesque, was held at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions Centre. Manson revealed a series of 20 paintings in 2010 entitled Genealogies of Pain, an exhibition showcased at Vienna’s Kunsthalle gallery[6] which the artist collaborated on with David Lynch.

The Analysis—-

Killing Strangers—-Beginning with that comfortable and welcoming Manson march, the ghostly vocal makes his return to the world of recorded music. The track has a slight blues edge to it…sounding strong and familiar. The message can be taken many ways…as is Manson’s music generally. A strong start…lots of moods and shifts.

Deep Six—-With a more Industrial sound, this is what I have been waiting for. It seems Manson has accumulated a pretty great band…the sound is tight. From nowhere comes the anger and pissed off vocal I was hoping for. This is a triumphant return after such a long hiatus. The chorus is even slightly sing-a-long….amazing!

3rd Day Of A 7 Day Binge—-The lead off single to this release offers a great title as well….and probably describes Manson and his life pretty well. Manson delivers a vocal that sounds better than he has in years. The drawn out growl is in full place…and the hum that carries the melody of the song ill make it plant in your brain for quite sometime. We have all been there….not to hard to relate to this song. Just thrilled at the quality of this record after a few throw away releases

Warship My Wreck—-Another track that seems to rise from ashes of silence….you wait with baited breath for the true mayhem to begin. The track is rather mundane and desolate from the onset. I keep waiting and waiting….the song does pick up some steam as it goes along….but for me, this is a bit flat.I think this is his attempt at a love song…..?

Slave Only Dreams—-This is classic Manson and classic 90’s era Industrial. From the spoken word intro to the marching music to the drawn out Manson vocal. This has become a favorite of mine…simply because it is so familiar in sound and style. The chorus is fantastic…it gives me a nice sense of energy!

The Devil Beneath My Feet—-A little flat on the intro music, but the vocal saves the track. The song reminds me of Lunchbox…from way back in the day. I like the vocal a lot….Manson has thus far made a triumphant return on this release. Well worth the wait. At times he hollers….at times he almost whispers….I could not ask for more. Swearing….threats….Bible references….you gotta love it.

Birds Of Hell Waiting—-This is fantastic….the music has such a familiar feel to it…the loping guitar..the slight blues. I only wish there was more noise. The vocal on this track seems pushed to the back of the mix a bit…putting the bass and rhythm section right up at the front of the song. This is fantastic…another favorite track of mine.

Cupid Carries A Gun—-Based on the song title, perhaps the Republican NRA wll try to recruit the God Of Fuck [sarcasm]. The entire song seems to have a vocal double track…this gives it a pretty big sound. The drums are more present than on any other song thus far. I love the catchy chorus. Hail the return of Manson!!

Odds Or Evens—-Another track that immediately reminds me of the days of old. This has a nice eerie sound to it that has been missing on much of this release. The lyrical content is classic Marilyn…I love that underlying marching feel to much of the music on this release. Manson is in good voice…I do miss the maniacal delivery of the earlier releases in his catalog….but we are all becoming older. Not great….but not a throwaway either.

Day 3—-This begins almost a bit to ‘poppy’ for me…even allowing an acoustic guitar on this version of the earlier track. This really is filler and am not really sure why this is on here. Hope we won’t see an acoustic tour of the Manson catalog!!!

Fated, Faithful, Fatal—-Really? Another gentle guitar intro…..I keep waiting for the huge aggression that I miss so much. This is not a terrible track…but it lacks a certain energy that I have been craving. The lyrics are classic…full of many biblical slurs and references. I like the chorus…it DOES stick in your brain…but this song should have been so much harder.

Fall Of The House Of Death—-The almost static sound at the onset gave me hope….but then the gentle guitar enters. This is a quiet, yet creepy track. I wish this release was bigger…more bombastic…more Manson. Too many typical Angel and demon references….after the first three songs, this CD becomes predictable and a little monotonous. I miss the Manson of old…but will take the new if that is as offered.

*** out of 5